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The Dartmouth
June 17, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Letter to the Editor: Keene State and Plymouth State Student Press Stand With Arrested The Dartmouth Reporters

Members of The Equinox and The Clock write in support of student journalism.

Re: VERBUM ULTIMUM: DROP THE CHARGES AGAINST CHARLOTTE HAMPTON ’26 AND ALESANDRA GONZALES ’27

Amid this time of great turmoil and unrest in the Middle East, students across the United States have looked to their college campuses as vehicles for protest and peaceful assembly — fundamental American rights. 

During these times, we have witnessed student journalists bravely and honorably cover demonstrations on the frontlines of their campuses. This has been crucial, as traditional media outlets have had trouble entering campuses that are either blocked off entirely to the public or inundated with law enforcement officers. As part of their campus communities, student journalists have stepped up and demonstrated the importance of collegiate news reporting, documenting these critical events in U.S. history.

Anyone should view this as important work, but it can — and does — unfortunately come with a cost that no journalist, student or otherwise, should have to pay.

On the night of May 1, two student reporters from The Dartmouth were arrested and charged with criminal trespass. While the students, Charlotte Hampton ’26 and Alesandra “Dre” Gonzales ’27, were released on bail and charges were not pressed, it is hard to understand why they were arrested in the first place. At the time of both students’ arrests, Hampton and Gonzales wore visible press identification, with Hampton even having her reporter’s notebook in hand. 

First and foremost, our responsibility as reporters is to document — taking photographs and writing about events is a way to preserve the current moment. As student journalists, we should not have to live in fear that we will be prevented from providing the community with timely and accurate information about the issues of the day. 

This is not an issue of breaking the law. It is an issue of the freedom of the press. 

If we, as student journalists, are not able to report and do our job in these times, the community will suffer for it. Any legal actions wrongfully taken against student reporters are felt by all of us. If large-scale crackdowns on protests came to our campuses, we should not have to worry about being arrested as we fulfill our duties. 

We at The Equinox and The Clock strongly condemn the arrests of both students. 

Nathan Hope, News Editor, The Equinox

Charlotte King, Managing Executive Editor, The Equinox

Nicole Dumont, Administrative Executive Editor, The Equinox

Jacob Downey, Editor-in-Chief, The Clock

Kay Bailey, Print Editor, The Clock

James Kelly, Managing Editor, The Clock

Alison Kaiser, Opinions Editor, The Clock

The authors are student journalists at Plymouth State University or Keene State College. Letters to the editor represent the views of their author(s), which are not necessarily those of The Dartmouth.